Rabbit Virus Release: What you should know

This week, the release of the new RHDV1 K5 virus will be rolled out at 700 sites across the country. You can find all you need to know about the history, release and monitoring of the virus here, but these are some key summary points:

  • The release of this virus has been a decade in the making and studies have shown no off-target impacts to other fauna species.
  • Both European Rabbits and European Brown Hares are susceptible.
  • The virus is delivered by baiting with individuals displaying flu-like symptoms (temperature and lethargy) within 2-3 days of consumption. Death occurs quickly, between 6 and 12 hours after symptoms are first displayed.
  • While domestic and farmed rabbits are susceptible to this strain, a vaccine is available and owners should make contact with their local vet for more information.
  • Previous studies have shown that a reduction in rabbit numbers can result in a simultaneous reduction in fox and feral cat numbers. Good news for our local native wildlife!